Editorial: Successes by youth are a reflection of community dedication

February 29, 2012

From, Legos to layups, there's plenty to celebrate this week in a trio of the achievements by local students and, with their efforts, the contributions of the community.

First, Hood River Valley High School teams won State in the First Tech Challenge Championship Tournament on Feb. 26 in Hillsboro (Details on page A1).

The robotics teams of all ages throughout the Gorge are on the rise, thanks to the dedicated help of local engineers and other professionals and volunteers who rightly have seen robotics as a great opportunity to teach kids about math and science, along with teamwork, and have fun at the same time.

Second, the Horizon boys basketball team defeated Jordan Valley to advance to the State Class 1A OSAA tournament in Baker. The Hawks prevailed through the talent and determination needed to withstand a tough Jordan Valley team that drove 7.5 hours to get here. The local squad also persevered through their own mistakes, a lesson in itself.

Safe travels to the team and its supporters as they head east on Interstate 84 to Baker for the final high school basketball competitions of the season. Kudos to the team for its second straight appearance at State. Here's hoping they bring home a trophy, but certainly they'll carry away good memories.

Third, the continued accomplishments of FFA students at HRVHS were on display in the annual open house at the Learning Lab, where students learn to care for plants and animals, and students pointed to surface upgrades that will improve the facility's sustainability as a neighbor of Indian Creek. The walls of the shop classrooms are lined with banners reflecting prizes earned at FFA competition in tests of scientific knowledge, business organization, leadership, public speaking and more.

What all three of these programs have in common is that they are community efforts. Adults, some of them with no direct family connection to the endeavor, are lending their time and expertise to help our young people learn to excel. Robotics, basketball and FFA group efforts are examples of how, through athletics as well as a variety of fields of learning, young people in our midst are advancing through their own hard work and the help of others.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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